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States that pay their politicians the most

States that pay their politicians the most

Depending on the position, a politician can stand to make a good living. If you're planning to get rich on a politician’s salary, however, stay away from Maine. Their state representatives earn salaries that put them just above the federal poverty line. They're better off than state reps in New Mexico, a state that doesn't pay its representatives any base wage, instead relying on per diem and reimbursements to cover their work expenses like travel, gas money, and meals. In other states, a single term in office would result in a pretty hefty financial haul.

Stacker ranked the most lucrative states for politicians in ascending order based on each state’s governor’s salary and state representative salary. The wages were compiled using 2019 data from the Council of State Governments for governor salaries and 2020 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures for state representative salaries.

Governor salaries are straightforward and to the point. The path to determining state representative wages, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. Their pay is a combination of base pay, which is estimated for 40 out of 50 states, plus per diems according to an average congressional session length—which is the period of time the representative actually spends working. Different state officials also get paid differently; when there was a wage discrepancy between a state senator and representative, for example, Stacker used the lower number to calculate the rankings. 

It's also worth noting that every state pays its representatives differently according to their legislative calendar, the location of the state capitol, how often representatives must travel or stay overnight, and state statutes. While the base salary stays consistent unless it is increased, the per diem wage rules can vary immensely between states.

Read on to find out just how many taxpayer-funded dollars your state pays its politicians.

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#50. Maine

- Governor's salary: $70,000
- State representative base salary: $14,862 for the first regular session, $10,582 for the second regular session
- State representative per diem wage: $38 per day for lodging or travel, $32 per day for meals

#49. Kansas

- Governor's salary: $99,636
- State representative base salary: $88.66 per calendar day
- State representative per diem wage: $151 per day

#48. New Mexico

- Governor's salary: $110,000
- State representative base salary: $0 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $192 per day

#47. South Carolina

- Governor's salary: $106,078
- State representative base salary: $10,400 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $140 per day

#46. Nebraska

- Governor's salary: $105,000
- State representative base salary: $12,000 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $55 per day for legislators residing less than 50 miles from the state capitol, $151 per day for legislators residing more than 50 miles from the capitol

 

#45. Arizona

- Governor's salary: $95,000
- State representative base salary: $24,000 per year
- State representative per diem wage:
--- For legislators residing within Maricopa County: $35 per day for the first 120 days of session, $10 per day for all following days
--- For legislators residing outside of Maricopa County: $60 per day for the first 120 days of session, $20 per day for all following days

#44. Wyoming

- Governor's salary: $105,000
- State representative base salary: $150 per day
- State representative per diem wage: $109 per day

#43. Colorado

- Governor's salary: $90,000
- State representative base salary: $40,242 per year (legislators whose terms start in or after January 2019), $30,000 per year for (legislators whose terms start before January 2019)
- State representative per diem wage: $45 per day for legislators residing less than 50 miles from the state capitol, $219 per day for legislators residing more than 50 miles from the capitol

#42. Montana

- Governor's salary: $115,505
- State representative base salary: $92.46 per legislative day
- State representative per diem wage: $120.11 per day

#41. South Dakota

- Governor's salary: $113,961
- State representative base salary: $11,892 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $151 per day (legislative days only)

 

#40. Oregon

- Governor's salary: $98,600
- State representative base salary: $31,200 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $151 per day

#39. New Hampshire

- Governor's salary: $134,581
- State representative base salary: $100 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

#38. North Dakota

- Governor's salary: $129,096
- State representative base salary: $515 per month
- State representative per diem wage: $186 per day

#37. Mississippi

- Governor's salary: $122,160
- State representative base salary: $23,500 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $151 per day

#36. Louisiana

- Governor's salary: $130,000
- State representative base salary: $16,800 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $161 per day

 

#35. Indiana

- Governor's salary: $121,331
- State representative base salary: $27,204 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $184 per day

#34. Iowa

- Governor's salary: $130,000
- State representative base salary: $25,000 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $169 per day

#33. Idaho

- Governor's salary: $138,302
- State representative base salary: $18,415 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $71 per day for legislators residing less than 50 miles from the state capitol, $139 per day for legislators residing more than 50 miles from the capitol

#32. North Carolina

- Governor's salary: $144,349
- State representative base salary: $13,951 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $104 per day

#31. Nevada

- Governor's salary: $149,573
- State representative base salary: $164.69 per calendar day up to 60 days, $159.89 per calendar day for senators elected in 2018
- State representative per diem wage: $151 per day

 

#30. Florida

- Governor's salary: $130,273
- State representative base salary: $29,697 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $152 per day (up to 50 days for senators, 60 days for representatives)

#29. Texas

- Governor's salary: $153,750
- State representative base salary: $7,200 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $221 per day

#28. Rhode Island

- Governor's salary: $145,755
- State representative base salary: $15,959 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

#27. Kentucky

- Governor's salary: $148,781
- State representative base salary: $188 per day
- State representative per diem wage: $166 per day

#26. Missouri

- Governor's salary: $133,821
- State representative base salary: $35,915 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $121 per day

 

#25. West Virginia

- Governor's salary: $150,000
- State representative base salary: $20,000 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $131 per day

#24. Alabama

- Governor's salary: $120,395
- State representative base salary: $49,861 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $85 per day (overnight stays), $100 per day (two-day or longer overnight stays)

#23. Minnesota

- Governor's salary: $127,629
- State representative base salary: $46,500 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $86 per day for senators, $66 per day for representatives

#22. Connecticut

- Governor's salary: $150,000
- State representative base salary: $28,000 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

#21. Oklahoma

- Governor's salary: $147,000
- State representative base salary: $35,021 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $166 per day

 

#20. Utah

- Governor's salary: $150,000
- State representative base salary: $393 per calendar day
- State representative per diem wage: none

#19. Arkansas

- Governor's salary: $148,134
- State representative base salary: $42,428 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $55 per day for legislators residing less than 50 miles from the state capitol, $151 per day for legislators residing more than 50 miles from the state capitol

#18. Georgia

- Governor's salary: $175,000
- State representative base salary: $17,342 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $173 per day

#17. Virginia

- Governor's salary: $175,000
- State representative base salary: $18,000 per year for senators, $17,640 per year for delegates
- State representative per diem wage: $210 per day

#16. Alaska

- Governor's salary: $145,000
- State representative base salary: $50,400 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $287 per day

 

#15. Vermont

- Governor's salary: $178,274
- State representative base salary: $742.92 per week during session
- State representative per diem wage: $132 per day for lodging, $66 per day for meals

#14. Wisconsin

- Governor's salary: $152,756
- State representative base salary: $52,999 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $115 per day for senators, $162 (with overnight) or $81 per day (no overnight) for representatives

#13. Delaware

- Governor's salary: $171,000
- State representative base salary: $47,291 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

#12. Tennessee

- Governor's salary: $194,112
- State representative base salary: $24,316 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $61 per day for legislators residing less than 50 miles from the state capitol, $284 per day for legislators residing more than 50 miles from the capitol

#11. Ohio

- Governor's salary: $153,650
- State representative base salary: $65,528 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

 

#10. Maryland

- Governor's salary: $170,000
- State representative base salary: $50,330 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $109 per day for lodging, $56 per day for meals

#9. Hawaii

- Governor's salary: $158,700
- State representative base salary: $62,604 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $225 per day for legislators who don’t reside on Oahu, $10 per day for legislators residing on Oahu

#8. New Jersey

- Governor's salary: $175,000
- State representative base salary: $49,000 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

#7. Michigan

- Governor's salary: $159,300
- State representative base salary: $71,685 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

#6. Washington

- Governor's salary: $183,072
- State representative base salary: $56,881 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $120 per day

 

#5. Illinois

- Governor's salary: $177,412
- State representative base salary: $69,464 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $151 per day

#4. Massachusetts

- Governor's salary: $185,000
- State representative base salary: $66,256 per year
- State representative per diem wage: none

#3. Pennsylvania

- Governor's salary: $194,850
- State representative base salary: $90,335 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $178 per day

#2. New York

- Governor's salary: $200,000
- State representative base salary: $110,000 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $61 per day, $176 per day for overnight travel

#1. California

- Governor's salary: $201,680
- State representative base salary: $114,877 per year
- State representative per diem wage: $206 per day

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